BAKERSFIELD, CA - Sheriff Donny Youngblood, who just returned from the nation's capital, where he met with President Donald Trump and the U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, stopped by 17 News to discuss immigration and how things are going to change in the country, and here in Kern County.
While there are still so many unanswered questions, today Sheriff Youngblood said if you're undocumented, and you're living with an undocumented criminal, you both will be in trouble, even if you aren't breaking any state laws.
Sheriff Youngblood said when he met with the U.S. Attorney General and the director of ICE, they told him their goal is to "find the criminal alien that's in our community". Youngblood went to say "so when they arrest those criminal aliens, they did say if you're harboring one of those criminal aliens and you have seven or eight people in the house..and you have one of those, you're in jeopardy. Because they're not going to turn a blind eye to the law."
We asked Youngblood if this means undocumented people who aren't committing crimes are still at risk for arrest and deportation by law enforcement. He replied, "people that are undocumented or illegal that are working wherever they are and are not committing crimes and have no criminal history, from what I understand are not going to be in jeopardy...unless they are living with someone who meets that criteria."
Youngblood went on to say that sheriff's deputies are not immigration officers. "we do not deport people, we do not arrest people", said Youngblood.
Youngblood says some laws limit their ability to help ICE detain undocumented criminals. He says his current solution to that is to embed ICE agents inside Kern jails and allow them access to the inmate database, "so they can do their own job and we're not immigration agents", said Youngblood.
Youngblood said in addition to financial hazards of calling yourself a sanctuary city or county, that doing so may draw attention to that location and cause ICE to stop by.
We asked Sheriff Youngblood for a follow-up interview on this topic, but he wasn't available. We're scheduled to speak with him more about immigration and law enforcement in Kern County tomorrow.
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